MUMBAI: If cricket is a religion in India, fast-format twenty-20 is the new god. In 2016, when the game on the whole saw a resurrection, T20 format matches scaled new heights in terms of viewership as well as sponsorship numbers.
The performance of the Indian cricket team under skipper Virat Kohli ensured a good start of 2016 with a historic whitewash in the T20 series against Australia. The Indian men in blue continued their winning streak in T20 against Sri Lanka followed by the Asia Cup, which notably, for the first time ever ,was played in the T20 format as a run up to the much awaited ICC World T20.
Just when pundits started talking about the overkill of cricket and T20, viewers hooked on to the 9th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Between IPL and T20 World Cup alone, advertisers coughed up Rs 1,500 crore. “T20, by and large, delivers the maximum mass audiences, which makes it a very efficient platform to reach out to a large base. At the same time, it is one of the most expensive properties in terms of advertising rate per 10 seconds,” said Ashish Bhasin, chairman and CEO – South Asia at Dentsu Aegis Network.
In terms of advertising rates, T20 is by far the largest money-spinner for broadcasters. Industry sources said Star India charged Rs 6 lakh per 10 seconds for the T20 World Cup, while Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) was asking for Rs 5.35 lakh per 10 second spot for IPL.
Compare it with the television debut of Salman Khan starrer Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo, which could manage only Rs 1.5 lakh per spot.
Basabdatta Chowdhury, national COO at Publicis Groupe-owned media buying firm Starcom BSE 0.00% India, pointed out that cricket remains a good buy for advertisers. “In effectiveness, even today it is second to none for the male audience, and it does command a premium for IPL or whenever the Indian team is playing,” Chowdhury added.
In fact, Star India is charging Rs 3.5 lakh per 10 seconds for the premiere of MS Dhoni , while Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’s asking rate is between Rs 3 - 3.5 lakh per spot.
Ad spots for the T20 series between India and England, which will start on Thursday, are being sold at Rs 4.75 – 5 lakh.
“There is no doubt about T20’s success. For all the brands that are targeting male audiences, T20 is the biggest bet. Sometimes, the premium is justifiable, sometimes it is not,” said Vikram Sakhuja, the Group CEO at Indian media agency network Madison World.
Viewership wise, 19 out of the top 20 most watched programmes or events on television in 2016 were T20 matches, according to BARC viewership data sourced from Star India.
Data for all India market (urban and rural) for audiences of above 4 years showed India versus West Indies semi final of the ICC World T20 delivered highest viewership at 88.786 million impressions. In other words, 88.78 million viewers watched the match at any point during the telecast.